Verona OK suspends mowing until June 1 | Government

After a bit of controversy and confusion last year, Verona is officially putting “No Mow May” on the books.

Verona City Council voted 8-1 at its Monday, January 24, meeting to approve an amendment suspending lawn length enforcement until June 1. The idea for longer lawns, according to the amendment, is to “allow pollinator species to emerge and early-flowering grasses to establish, which can result in ground cover exceeding height restrictions set by the prescriptions and weed growth.

Last April, the Common Council adopted a resolution allowing owners to let their lawns grow during the month of May in order to create a healthier environment for pollinators coming out of their winter hibernation. District 3 Ald. Phil Hoechst was the only one to vote against the plan on Monday, though several other alders had questions and concerns, including weed management issues and just letting residents know what’s going on.

District 3 Ald. Kate Cronin, who requested the amendment, said she was pleased with the number of households that participated in May, but wants the city to raise awareness about it this year.

“There were issues where people didn’t know people were participating in ‘No Mow May’ and just thought their neighbors were lazy and not mowing,” she said.

Cronin pointed out that waiting a month for lawn maintenance “is not a trivial commitment,” telling his own story.

“I let my weed grow all of May and it was 25 inches tall, so you should be ready to go back to regulation length starting June 1,” she said. “I had to pay a landscaping company to do it because there was no way my lawnmower would handle it.”

District 1 Ald. Evan Touchett said while he’s okay with the concept, there will be “unintended side effects” involved, based on what he’s seen in the last year.

“Watching my neighbor’s field of dandelions blow across my lawn and all over my yard was a struggle because I was just imagining how much trash I was going to have to put on my lawn to keep those dandelions gone,” he said. declared. “It’s a small price to pay, but…it will happen with some people, especially something that flies quite easily like dandelions.”

District 4 Ald. Heather Reekie asked how letting grass grow would help pollinators.

“I don’t understand the science behind this, but I would like to encourage the planting of more natural prairie grasses, milkweed, things that pollinators and butterflies use more, than not mowing that,” she said. “I don’t know how not mowing grass provides habitat for insects and animals as much as natural prairie grasses would.”

District 2 Ald. Rye Kimmett said that while she agreed that promoting the planting of native plants and prairie grasses was the long-term solution, keeping the grass long in the spring helps pollinators.

“Dandelions are one of the first (plants) to emerge, so they are one of the first foods available to pollinators,” she said. “Unfortunately, because cultivated lawns are so popular, most people aren’t going to replant their entire lawn to include native grassland, so having a month when dandelions come in gives struggling species the first little bit they need to do it.”

Promoted by a question from District 1 Ald. Chad Kemp on how the city can better inform residents of the plan, City Administrator Adam Sayre said the city is considering compostable signs that people can put in their yards in May, so people know why their lawns are long. Reusable wooden signs were also suggested.

“The idea of ​​a sign, it helps in the sense that you know why the grass is long in that yard,” he said. “That’s the one thing we struggle with, I think all communities struggle with – how do you reach people when they’re not passionate about an issue? You can push it as hard as you can there, and you’re probably going to miss three quarters or half of the people.

Contact journalist Scott De Laruelle @[email protected]

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